Friday, May 25, 2018

Geoffrey Hendricks | The Fertility of the Soil

Geoffrey Hendricks
The Fertility of the Soil
New York City, USA: Money for Food Press, 1992
28 pp., 12.5 X 16 cm., boxed
Edition of 160

A straw faggot and instructions for starting a fire are tied to binding thread.; "For Franklin Furnace Nancy Spero & Burning in Hell"
- Colophon

Available from Printed Matter, here, for $250.00 ($225.00 for members).

Philip Glass | Quartet # 4 (Buczak)

Philip Glass
Quartet # 4 (Buczak)
New York City, Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc., 1989
23 min
Edition size unknown

Brian Buczak was born in 1954, in Detroit, where he received his BFA from the Center for Creative Studies. He moved to New York City in 1975 at age 21, and met Geoffrey Hendricks shortly afterwards. His work, which includes paintings, drawing, writings, artist's books, film and performance - has been exhibited internationally, including Canada, Italy, and Iceland.

Buczak and Hendricks c-founded the Money For Food Press and produced many collaborations together. Buczak died from AIDS at the age of 33, on July 4th, 1987.

Hendricks commissioned Philip Glass to compose a piece to commemorate Buczak's life (offering a large canvas work in trade). It premiered on the second anniversary of Buczak's death, at either Hauser Gallery or Emily Harvey (online reports differ).

The work can be heard on the CD Kronos Quartet Performs Philip Glass (Nonesuch, 1995), and online here.

"The music of Philip Glass, especially works composed after the formative period of the late '60s and early '70s, demonstrates a stylistic consistency that critics deride as utter predictability. And certainly, some of his most characteristic gestures have become movie music clichés: the murmuring minor third alternations and subtle shifts of metric accentuation that so drew in viewers of director Errol Morris' startling documentary The Thin Blue Line, for example, have been borrowed by numerous other composers looking to cast an anxious, pensive mood on a tense, cinematic moment. Still, even his harshest critics must admit that in a handful of works, Glass ventures rather far afield of his minimalist roots, exploring sounds and textures that merge with his more characteristic techniques in surprising and often moving ways.

Such is the case with Glass' String Quartet No. 4, subtitled "Buczak." The subtitle derives from the work's memorial nature, composed as it was in memory of artist Brian Buczak, who succumbed to AIDS in 1988 [sic]. The inevitable combination of mourning and remembrance play out in the work's musical character, which is likewise conflicted in its textures and techniques. At the core of the work's first movement is a device typical of Glass' oeuvre: a chord progression carried by slippery semitone voiceleading through a string of unexpected tonalities before finally and unexpectedly arriving at its starting point. Likewise, the metrical terrain constantly shifts, with units of three and four beats unpredictably juxtaposed (a trait not as prominent in Glass' later works, but central to expanding and contracting melodic cells of his early pieces).

What sets this movement off, however, is its occasional use of strident polytonal complexes. A theme with variations, the movement occasionally bifurcates the strings into divergent harmonic camps, carving out arpeggios and melodies on entirely different planes (an idea carried even further in Glass' Symphony No. 2). This stratification is enhanced by contrasts between arco and pizzicato articulations. The second movement is more mellow, but also more melancholy, its chromaticism drawn out into long, lyrical melodies and delicately strident harmonies reminiscent of Fauré or Debussy in a dark mood; reaching into the extended upper range, the violins evoke a yearning for transcendence. The third and final movement alternates between long-breathed chords and somber, minor-mode polyphonies, ultimately settling into the major mode and ending on a note of serene repose.

Glass wanted his fourth quartet to represent "a musical impression of [Buczak] as a person as well as a tribute to his life's work".

- Jeremy Grimshaw, Allmusic

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak | Rulers, Ladders, and Buckets

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak
Rulers, Ladders, and Buckets
New York City, USA: Money for Food Press, 1977
24 pp., 15 x 15 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

The first publication by Money For Food Press, this square booklet documents a performance by Brian Buczak and Geoffrey Hendricks at the Institute of Art & Urban Resources P.S. 1 in NYC, October 9 & 16, 1977. The slim titled featured seven reproduced photos and drawings and is signed by both artists on the cover.

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak | The Wisdom of the Money for Food Lady

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak
The Wisdom of the Money for Food Lady
New York  City, USA: Money for Food Press, 1978
25.3 x 25.3 cm.
Edition of fifty signed and numbered copies

A companion piece to the folder of the same name (see previous post), this cardboard boxed work contains a bent umbrella handle with a label that reads “THIS OBJECT FOUND ON MARCH 2, 1978”.

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak | The Wisdom of the Money for Food Lady

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak
The Wisdom of the Money for Food Lady
New York  City, USA: Money for Food Press, 1978
30 x 24 cm.
Edition of 50 signed and numbered copies

Produced for a performance and reading at Franklin Furnace, this pocket folder contains two pages from a medical book, a photographic slide, a flyer, a leaflet and a stapled price list. Hendricks had established the Money for Food Press with his partner Brian Buczak, a year prior.

"MFFP was originally created to expand the practices of its founders' artwork, which was rooted in Fluxus and Ray Johnson's New York Correspondence School. The press began with the booklet "Rulers, Ladders and Buckets," which documented a performance by Buczak and Hendricks at P.S. 1 in 1977. Over the next decade, dozens of publications were produced and distributed that intersected with the practices of New York-based artists such as George Maciunas, Lawrence Wiener, Alison Knowles and Nancy Spero. MFFP remained an essential compliment to Buczak's painting and post-Fluxus practice until his death from HIV/AIDS and related complications in 1987 and the exhibition reflects this through the inclusion of over thirty of his individual publications.

Throughout its existence, MFFP has embraced an accessible, democratic, do-it-yourself practice that encourages the breakdown of boundaries separating art and life. In the introduction to the offerings in their 1980 catalog, Dick Higgins writes "They exist as paradigms for our own imaginative processes rather than (at least primarily) investment commodities. Buy them and live well – keep them in your own private treasure chest, to be fished out and shown only to those with whom you share your own private elegances."

- Printed Matter press release

Bici Forbes Hendricks | Statement of Aims and Purposes of the Black Thumb Press

Bici Forbes Hendricks
Statement of Aims and Purposes of the Black Thumb Press
New York City, USA: Black Thumb Press, Inc., 1966
7 pp., 22.8 x 15.2 cm., staplebound.
Edition size unknown

A manifesto by Bici Forbes (now Nye Ffarrabas) for The Black Thumb Press, the publishing venture she co-founded with her then-husband Geoffrey Hendricks.

"[...] my feeling was that, well, Happenings are Kaprow, Events are Brecht, and Watts was there with Maciunas and the beginnings of Fluxus. It was exciting, but I wanted to find my own voice within this, rather than just being a part of what this circle of artists around me were generating. I was also involved in a heterosexual marriage, and in ’64 we had the birth of our daughter which had some impact in ways that deflected certain creative juices and drives. But I was also feeling connected with it all. Really, from ’63 when the Fluxus people came back from Europe, Bici/Nye and I were involved in doing things of this nature. I guess it was around this time that she asked Bob Watts, “how do you become a member of Fluxus?” and Bob sorta shrugged his shoulders and said “well you either are or you aren’t. It’s nothing you can join.” So we started the Black Thumb Press, and sent out cards, and kept an ongoing journal we called The Friday Book of White Noise where we would write down scores, thoughts, ideas. Then, when Watts and Brecht brought together their Monday Night Letter at the Café au Go-Go, we did a reading of “The Friday Book of White Noise” and Bici/Nye made a script/scroll as a Möbius strip — it was a continuous thing. These were Fluxus-like scores. And then, by ’65, George Maciunas began including us on his mailing list of names and we were taking part in Fluxus Banquets and a paper concert at the Time Life Building. So, sort of by osmosis, in the 60’s we began to be part of Fluxus, but still we were also in a little bit of an outsider role — something that my life has always had."

Geoffrey Hendricks | 100 Skies

Geoffrey Hendricks
100 Skies
Worpswede, Germany: Barkenhoff-Stiftung, 1986
[unpaginated], 12 x 11 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

The first of three editions, the work features water colour images of skies by Hendricks alongside texts by Henry Martin.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Geoffrey Hendricks | Sky Underpants

Geoffrey Hendricks
Sky Underpants
New York City, USA: Self-published, 2009
30 x 45 x 2 cm.
Unique work

Acrylic paint on cotton underwear. Unique from a series created for the exhibition Hidden Delights, Lingerie in the Arts, by Harry Ruhé and Jeannette Dekeukeleire.

Available from, here, for 1600 Euros.

"They were modeled by professional models and this fall Harry Ruhé will be having them modelled at the Artists Editions Book Fair in New York, where I will also be working with Robin Kahn on other activities.

Right now I'm at my place on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.

Best regards,


Geoffrey Hendricks | Between Two Points, Meditative Rituals

Geoffrey Hendricks
Between Two Points, Meditative Rituals
Verona, Italy: Francesco Conz, 1974-1976
56 x 67 x 13 cm.
Edition of 15 signed and numbered copies

A wooden box containing a folder, fabric covered boxes (containing photographic documentation of performances), and ten numbered relics. The work documents ritualistic performances in Norway and Italy in 1974.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Geoffrey Hendricks | Ring Piece

Geoffrey Hendricks
Ring Piece
New York City/Barton, USA: Something Else Press, 1973
79 pp., 13.5 x 10.5 cm., softcover
Edition of 2000

Subtitled "The Journal of a Twelve Hour Silent Meditation", this slim volume documents the artist's performance at the 8th Annual Avant Garde Festival. Organized by Charlotte Moorman, the event took place on November 19, 1971, at the 69th Regiment Infantry Armory, in Manhattan. Other participants included Christo, Joe Jones, John Lennon, Hermann Nitsch, Yoko Ono, Ralph Oritz, Joey Skaggs, Bob Watts, and many others.

Hendricks sat in a tuxedo in silence for twelve hours, atop a six-foot tall mound of dirt, in the exact centre of the Armory, under which was buried his wedding ring, and various other relics relating to his marriage.

One of the smallest titles put out by the press, the book is designed to be the exact size of the little red journal that Hendricks kept during the 12 hour long meditation. "Good words from the Cloudsmith" is how it is described in the Something Else Press newsletter from January 1973. The title sold for $5.45, and a cloth signed and numbered edition (of 100) was offered for $15.00.

"For the Avant Garde Festival, which followed the Flux Divorce, I was asked by Charlotte Moorman what I wanted to do and I said "I'd like to dump a truckload of dirt in the middle of the Armory and bury my wedding ring there and sit on top of it. Bici and I are deciding to separate," Hendricks told me in the mid-nineties.

And, unless I'm mistranslating this casual interview, the ring in Ring Piece was absent:

GH: There had always been a certain amount of animosity between [George Maciunas] and Charlotte Moorman. Charlotte was someone who was all-embracing and George was very selective: "You're in, you're out". Even with the people who were part of this closer group, if he was irritated at somebody he would excommunicate them. And then they'd be back again, later. So he decided he was going to have nothing to do with anybody who participated in the festival. At first it was just that he was not going to help anybody, because I think Yoko was wanting him to fabricate her work and he was deciding that he didn't want to do this.

Since he had provided me with the box (for the ring) and glued it together and did the die-stamping I couldn't use it, because he didn't want any participation at all.

So the ring wasn't under me during the performance, but other relics were.

George ended up giving me a little text to post about how he would not have any verbal communication with anyone who participated in the so-called Avant Garde festival.

DD: For one year, was it?

GH: Yes, for one year, until the next festival.

DD: Did he keep his word?

GH: Pretty much. He used Barbara Moore as a conduit. He would call Barbara and tell her to call Geoff, or Joe Jones, or whoever and tell them that I need this, or I want this. If we wanted to reach George we'd have to call Barbara and say "Barbara, can you see if George has this?" or "What does he think about this or that",  whatever.

Ring Piece was preceded by Flux Divorce Album (see previous post), another work about his separation from Nye Ffarrabas (formerly Bici Forbes Hendricks), his partner of ten years and the mother of his two children.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Geoffrey Hendricks | Flux Divorce Album

Geoffrey Hendricks
Flux Divorce Album
New York City, USA: Fluxus, 1973
39.7 x 50.6 x 10.5 cm.
Edition size unknown

A boxed work documenting the artist's divorce from Nye Ffarrabas (formerly Beatrice Cobb Forbes, Bici Forbes, and then Bici Forbes Hendricks), in which all of their belongings were sliced in two. Items from their ten years of marriage - including documents, clothing, a love seat, and their marital bed - were cut in half with scissors, a paper cutter, an ax and a power saw.

Housed in a box crafted by woodworking graduate student, the work includes "Our Flux Divorce" which resembles a wedding album, and is also bisected, horizontally. Fragments of coats, barbed wire, plastic, correspondence cut in half, and half of a wedding announcement are also included. The documentation of the performative event is by Fluxus photographer Peter Moore. George Maciunas assisted with the design, and distributed the work through Fluxus.

When Maciunas married in 1978, Hendricks officiated (in a clerical robe) and the event can almost be viewed as the inversion of his divorce.

From an Oral history interview with Geoffrey Hendricks, 2016 August 17-18:

GEOFFREY HENDRICKS: With our 10th wedding anniversary coming along, it was like, How do we celebrate it? Because we were both, you know, queer and involved with others, and I just sort of tossed out the idea, what about a Flux-divorce? And it sort of resonated, and I said, "Let me talk to George Maciunas." And so I talked to George. He was absolutely thrilled and so he did a lot of the orchestrating of it, and figuring out how to divide up the house with a wall of cardboard boxes to separate one half of the room. For another, barbed wire between the living room and the kitchen island in the middle of the—before the dining room.


And then upstairs in the bedroom, we had a division of property and with a paper cutter, we cut our wedding document in half, the wedding invitation, some correspondence that was sort of symbolic. And then with, I guess, a utility knife, cut the mattress in half with scissors and ripped the sheets in half. And then I had this circular saw and cut the wooden platform of the bed in half. And there was a wicker loveseat that I chopped in half. So this was the division of property and we tore our wedding garments in half.

LINDA YABLONSKY: Was this documented?

GEOFFREY HENDRICKS: There's some documentation of it.

LINDA YABLONSKY: Photographs or video?

GEOFFREY HENDRICKS: Yeah, Peter Moore took photographs. And there are maybe some others. I don't know that there's video, but then I made a Flux–Divorce Box so that I have this as an object. And there are copies of it in, I guess, in MoMA and the Getty and the Sohm [Archive] collection in Stuttgart, and sort of, you know, there maybe half a dozen key Fluxus collection series.

LINDA YABLONSKY: It sounds like it sets quite a precedent for Gordon Matta-Clark.

GEOFFREY HENDRICKS: [Laughs.] Yeah, right, well—

LINDA YABLONSKY: Remember he split the house—

GEOFFREY HENDRICKS: Oh, yeah, no, I know.

From a casual interview I did with Hendricks in the early nineties:

DD: How many of these were produced?

GH: Not a lot. They were all hand done. There's one in the Silverman collection, there's one in the Jean Brown collection that's now in the Getty. Francesco Conz has one, Barbara Moore. Not many more than that.

From an interview with Lars Movin:

GH: Early in 1978 while George Maciunas was battling terminal cancer, he said to me "Geoff, we had your "Flux Divorce", we should also have a "Flux Wedding". Ht wanted to have a Flux Wedding with Billie Hutching, who he was with, and he wanted me to be 'minister'.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Geoffrey Hendricks | Picnic Garbage Placemat

Geoffrey Hendricks
Picnic Garbage Placemat
New York City, USA: Fluxus, 1973
35.5 x 42.5 cm.
Edition size unknown

Screenprint on fabric-backed vinyl, this placemat is designed to mimic the refuse after a picnic. It was distributed through Fluxus individually, and as part of the Fluxpack 3, which also included works by George Brecht, Ben Vautier, Robert Watts and George Maciunas.

Geoffrey Hendricks | Flux Reliquary

Geoffrey Hendricks
Flux Reliquary
New York City, USA: Fluxus, [circa] 1970
12 x 10 x 2.2 cm.
Edition size unknown

A compartmentalized Canal Street plastic box with a George Maciunas-designed label, containing pseudo-religious relics or "holy shit from the diners of the last supper." Items may have included fingernails in a capsule, a white rubber band, yellow water ("sweat") in a glass and metal medicine vial, a gelatin medicine capsule filled with small brass nails ("from the cross..."), a small coil of yellow electrical wire ("fragment of rope..."), a truncated ballpoint pen ("Pen write...Nestorian errors"), dried excrement ("from diners of the The Last Supper") and a small flat pebble ("that stoned a Saint").

The above examples are from the The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Harvard Art Museum, the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, The Walker Art Centre, and the Bonotto Foundations collection.

The work existed in two other versions: a shit-dispensing vending machine and a drawer in Maciunas' Flux Cabinet, below.

Hendricks died on May 12 at the age of 86. Obituaries to follow, as well as other examples of his work throughout the week.